Every year, thousands of dogs needlessly suffer - and sometimes die - from accidental poisoning. Because of their natural curiosity, dogs can stumble across poisons inside and outside the house, even in places you thought they’d never look. So to look after your best friend, it’s incredibly important you learn how to make your home safe and know the potential signs of poisoning. For example:

  • nervousness
  • overexcited mood
  • excessive drooling
  • muscle tremors
  • panting
  • fever
  • seizures
  • diarrhoea
  • fast heart rate
  • respiratory failure
  • rigidity
  • vomiting
  • skin irritations
  • weakness
  • loss of balance
  • increased thirst
If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, see your vet immediately. 

The list of potential toxins is huge and each one works differently. They could include certain foods like onions, chocolate or raisins (see "Foods to avoid"), compost, fertilisers (especially blood & bone-based fertilisers), pesticides (especially Compound 1080), herbicides (especially paraquat), disinfectants, antifreeze and many others. People also often forget that rodent and insect baits are designed to be tasty in order to tempt the pests we're trying to catch. Sadly they're also tasty to pets, and dogs have been known to gobble down large quantities. 

If you suspect your dog has eaten or drunk poison, don't wait for him to show symptoms. Take him to the vet immediately, as it could be fatal. If you know for a fact your dog has been poisoned, take the packet, bottle or a sample of the substance as this will help your vet know the active compound it contains. And if at all possible, let your vet know how much has been swallowed.

Some of the simple things you can do include: storing all toxic chemicals out of reach or in a locked cupboard (this also applies in places like your shed or garage); preventing access to areas where you have put down bait. It sounds obvious, and it is. But it's surprising how easy it is to forget that your pets don't know that something that smells so great can be so dangerous.